Remember a couple of weeks ago I asked you all for nail polish recommendations? Thanks to those who replied! The overwhelming recommendation was OPI, which is apparently what a lot of salons use and I didn’t even know was sold retail. But they sell it in those Sally shops, which I have avoided to date for completely irrational reasons*, so off I went to investigate and I ended up buying the light pink. My friend then bought me the white Barry M one for my birthday party, after I complained on facebook that opaque non-glittery white was hard to find.
So this ended up as a perfect compare and contrast of the two polishes to answer the question I had asked in my original request for recommendations: Is it worth spending the extra on more expensive brands?
I painted alternate nails with the OPI and with the Barry M to see what would happen over time. I briefly considered just painting each hand with a different colour, but that wouldn’t have been as fair, because I’m right handed, so obviously the nails on the right hand get more wear and tear.
So without further ado, here are my conclusions:
Price: £2.95. Can’t argue with that.
Packaging: Simple and clean. Nothing exciting, but you expect that for the price, and I like it. If you were one of those people with bazillions of nail polishes, the square shape would make it easy to store.
Colour: Lots of pigment, really opaque even after one coat. The picture shows it with two coats and there is no see-through-ness at all. And actually the only matt white I’ve seen in all of Boots that isn’t a nail tip whitener for French manicure.
Application: Not great. It’s really hit and miss how much you get onto your nail, the brush affords you very little control. The polish is quite gloopy (I guess that’s all the pigment) it hides at the top and you’ve got hardly any on the tip and then all drops down in one go, so you’ve got loads on your nails and it takes ages to dry. Though I should say though that I am really inexperienced at applying polish, so I’m sure someone with more skills could make it go on evenly.
Drying time: I left about twenty minutes between each coat while watching the football, so I can’t really say. But because it’s so easy to use too much I would say it probably makes sense to err on the side of caution here.
Durability: I applied it on Monday, and by Wednesday minor cracks were starting to appear. On Thursday, a big bit started peeling off one of my nails and I started picking at it and eventually ended up taking it all off on the Friday. That being said, I applied it to my toenails on the Saturday before, so it’s been over a week and not a chip in sight.
Cost: £9.50, so mid-to high end. If you know what colour you want, there’s some cheaper offers on ebay and amazon though.
Packaging: Not as snazzy as you might expect for the price, it still has a simple feel to it. But compared to the Barry M the bottle does feel reassuringly heavy in your hand (why that is reassuring I don’t know, but it is) and the plastic of the lid has a nice matt surface.
Colour: No opaque white to be found. Instead they had five almost identical shades of light pink called things like ‘Marshmallow dreams’ and ‘Walking on a cloud’ (these are not actual names, but you get the picture). This is the lightest shade they had, called ‘Sweet Heart’, though on further investigation there is actually a white shade called ‘Alpine snow’ wasn’t in the shop. Anyway, this pink is actually a sort of French manicure-y see through shade. You need three layers to get it as opaque as in the picture. So it wasn’t really what I wanted (I wanted the white of the tips to be covered up), but actually now I prefer it. It’s really subtle and elegant if you only put on one coat, as I have while typing this.
Application: This is where the key difference lies. I don’t know how they do it, but the brush is magical. It’s really wide, so with a bit of luck you can do the entire nail in one sweep, and it distributes the polish evenly. I am really really impressed!
Drying time: Like I said, I didn’t really check, but I reckon it dries pretty quickly, because the brush lets you make it go on really thin.
Durability: Some small chips near the tips by the Thursday, but unlike the Barry M, no danger of it peeling off. I took it all off and reapplied the one coat on Friday, so not sure how long it would have lasted, but I reckon at least another couple of days.
So there you have it! Based on those two brands, and my probably inferior application skills, my answer would be yes, it’s worth spending the extra if you plan to use it for your finger nails. If it’s just for toes, I would say go with the cheaper option.
* That reason being that the 2005 London bombers bought the peroxide they used to make the bombs in a Sallys. So In my mind there’s a connection between Sallys and international terrorism. I know, not hugely rational.